This competition for a massive waste handling facility in Copenhagen gave us an opportunity to explore ideas of shape optimisation and hierarchical structures. While conventional engineering rarely goes beyond one level of hierarchy (the Eiffel Tower is an exception in having three levels: trusses within trusses within trusses) it is common to find as many as eight levels of hierarchy in biological structures. Each level of hierarchy generally results in increased resource efficiency and resilience.
Our proposal used corrugated, curved and tensioned aluminium sheets formed into long-spanning units. These were supported on trussed portal frames in which each member of the truss was also broken down into a further level of hierarchy. The scheme showed considerable potential for radically reducing resource use at lower cost.